The Training Room: Week 1 Injury Updates
Regardless of what happened this week, you are fine. If you lost, if you won, if a key fantasy player on your roster got injured or if you were lucky enough to avoid the injuries altogether, at the end of the day it’s just Week 1. Whether it is good or bad, it is easy to overreact. We have all done it. The best thing we can do from here on out is make adjustments and move on.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with me, allow me to formally introduce myself. My name is Adam Hutchison. I am a licensed physical therapist and for the next 17 weeks, I will be providing injury content for you and the rest of the 4for4 community. I am excited to be here. My goal is to help you better understand injuries so that you can make educated decisions when navigating the waiver wire for weeks to come. What I want for you all is to not make mistakes that I made well before I became a physical therapist. Mistakes such as panic dropping Will Fuller in 2017 for Rashard Higgins. I did that. Or drafting an aging Arian Foster post-Achilles tendon tear. Yeah, that was me too. Although these examples are embarrassing to admit, I tell them to prove a point. With a better understanding of injuries, we can make better choices...hopefully.
Michael Gallup, WR Dallas Cowboys
Injury: Calf (gastrocnemius) strain
Timetable for recovery: 3-5 weeks; ruled out week 2
Potential replacement(s): Cedrick Wilson
Friday news broke that Michael Gallup sustained a calf injury in Thursday night’s matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The initial report from Dallas Cowboys’ reporter Michael Gehlken provided a timeline of 3-5 weeks. I understand the range of weeks can sometimes be frustrating for managers, but injuries are fluid situations and everyone heals differently, thus the initial forecast. If I had to make an educated guess, I would bet that Gallup misses the minimum of three weeks. Since 2018 the average number of games missed for WRs with a calf strain is two weeks. Dallas has yet to put Gallup on the short-term IR (or at least that has not yet happened as I am writing this Sunday night) which would mean that Gallup would have to sit out at least three weeks. In doing so they have left the window open for a quick return. Historically calf strains have not significantly decreased fantasy production so expect Gallup to return to his pre-injury form when he is cleared to play. Gallup finished third on his team for target share and was even beating out teammate Ceedee Lamb prior to getting hurt.
Curtis Samuel, WR Washington Football Team
Injury: Groin Strain
Timetable for recovery: Short-term IR; 3 weeks (minimum) - 6 weeks
Potential replacement(s): Adam Humphries, Dyami Brown
Wednesday video surfaced on Twitter of WR Curtis Samuel appearing to be disgruntled as he walked off the field during practice (credit to Mitchell Tischler). There were fears that Samuel had aggravated his groin injury from earlier in Washington’s preseason. Those fears were confirmed later on Friday when the team placed Samuel on short-term IR, meaning he is eligible to return in three weeks. That timeline sounds right for the Washington receiver, although WFT might proceed with caution to avoid any further time missed since this is already the second reported occurrence of this injury. It also does not bode well for the Washington passing game with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick going down with an injury on Sunday. It would be a slow start to the season for Curtius Samuel.
Odell Beckham Jr., WR Cleveland Browns
Injury: recovering from ACL
Timetable for recovery: Week 2
Potential replacement(s): NA
Odell Beckham Jr. was a late scratch on Sunday vs. Kansas City. Beckham warmed up pre-game before eventually telling staff that he was not ready to go. Broadcasters calling the game even remarked that Odell Beckham did not look sharp/ready to go. Although him being ready for Week 1 was not my top concern, it does speak to some of the trepidation I had for OBJ heading into this 2021 season. In Odell Beckham's Injury Profile I highlighted how a large amount of his success came from routes that required deceleration - a movement that stresses the knee and ACL ligament. If Beckham Jr. is already showing signs that that knee is not ready, his fantasy production could take a hit in 2021. I think he returns to action soon, but how he performs will require monitoring.
Raheem Mostert, RB San Francisco 49ers
Injury: knee sprain (unspecified)
Timetable for recovery: unknown at this time
Potential replacement(s): Trey Sermon, Elijah Mitchell
Unfortunately, stop me if you have heard this before but Raheem Mostert exited very early Sunday with a knee injury. As of now, all we know is that HC Kyle Shanahan said he “did not think the knee injury was an ACL.” Here is what we do know, Mostert has dealt with MCL sprains in the past once in 2017 and again in 2020. Jeff Mueller, a physical therapist himself who writes for DLF and follows the 49ers closely, informed me that Mostert was also dealing with an MCL injury in the preseason. To be clear I am speculating here but I am thinking Mostert is dealing with another MCL injury based on this information. For RBs and MCL is usually a 3-4 week injury. When Mostert did return from his MCL sprain last season he actually outscored his season average by 24%, so he can certainly return and be a factor.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Washington Football Team
Injury: hip injury (unspecified)
Timetable for recovery: unknown at this time
Potential replacement(s): Taylor Heinicke
Washington QB Ryan Fitzpatrick injured his right hip while making a throw during Sunday’s game against the Chargers. Although official word has not come out yet about the specifics of Fitzpatrick’s injury, it did not look good. His knee was flexed, driven into the ground while a LAC defender landed on his back. This mechanism of injury suggests that the hip socket is damaged - meaning a possible labral tear or fracture in the hip. Further tests will need to be done but this could mean a lengthy stint on the IR for Fitzpatrick. More to come later.
Jerry Jeudy, WR Denver Broncos
Injury: right high ankle sprain
Timetable for recovery: 6-8 weeks
Potential replacement(s): Tim Patrick, KJ Hamler
Jerry Jeudy sustained a scary right ankle injury in week 1. Watching it live I was concerned about a fracture before news later came out that it was a high ankle sprain. Typically high ankle sprains are a 3-6 week injury but they can certainly be longer IE: Michael Thomas last year who missed 7 weeks with the same injury. Video is not diagnostic but the injury appeared severe to me, which is why the initial timeline includes a timeframe of 8 weeks. Prepare for Jeudy to land on the IR and miss the first half of the season.
Brandon Aiyuk, WR San Francisco 49ers
Timetable for recovery: week 2
Potential replacement(s): NA
I only included Aiyuk in this column because some fantasy managers might be concerned about the goose egg he laid this week. Brandon Aiyuk played on Sunday but played under 50% of the 49ers’ offensive snaps. Kyle Shanahan stated that Aiyuk missed vital playing time this preseason when dealing with a hamstring injury. Aiyuk is playing, but for the time being, I don’t feel great starting him until I see his playing time increase.
Jedrick Wills Jr., LT Cleveland Browns: injured his left ankle. On video, it looked like an inversion ankle sprain. The timeline for inversion ankle sprains ranges from 2-4 weeks. There is a chance he plays next week however which would be ideal for Nick Chubb's fantasy managers, considering the Browns have a top-3 offensive line.